Quebec Immigration: Regular Skilled Worker Program (QSWP)
Quebec holds a unique position in the Canadian immigration landscape because of its French language and cultural heritage. The province operates its own permanent immigration programs.
One of the main immigration pathways available to those wishing to settle in Quebec is the Regular Skilled Worker Program (QSWP).
Selection under the QSWP is based on the candidates’ profile, their level of education, language skills, work experience, and possible ties to Quebec. This comprehensive CanadaVisa page outlines what you need to know about the QSWP.
Table of Contents
- Immigration Process Under the QWSP
- QWSP Eligibility
- QWSP Selection Factors
- QWSP Processing Fees
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Contact Cohen Immigration Law for Assistance
The Quebec Regular Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) is a well-established permanent immigration program for skilled workers in Quebec.
Similarly to the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW) under the Express Entry system, foreign nationals who wish to immigrate through the QWSP must first declare their interest in immigrating to Quebec by completing an expression of interest (EOI) form through an online portal. The Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) regularly selects people from the pool of candidates and invites them to apply for permanent selection.
As of November 2023, French proficiency is mandatory for both principal and sponsored applicants in the program.
On November 29th, 2024, the Quebec Regular Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) will be replaced by the Qualified Worker Selection Program (QWSP), which will function in much the same way.
Recent Application Processing Improvements Under the QWSP
In the past, applications under the QWSP were submitted in paper format and were subject to a quota. Quebec set a maximum number of applications it could receive for the year and a deadline for receiving applications. Once the maximum number of applications was reached, Quebec closed the program to new applications. This “first come, first served” selection system was deemed inefficient and the large inventory of applications received at once resulted in endless backlogs.
In other words, under the old application model, the number of applications submitted was far greater than the number of spots available each year for skilled workers. As a result, the waiting time for the successful candidates often spanned several years.
For this reason, in 2018, the Quebec Immigration Ministry proceeded with a sort of “reboot,” removing the “first come, first served” approach, backlogged applications and introduced an online Expression of Interest (EOI) system hosted on a platform called “Arrima.”
The EOI system gives an equal opportunity for permanent selection to all potential candidates. Anyone 18 years of age or older who wishes to immigrate to Quebec can declare their interest in doing so at any time.
Quebec’s Expression of Interest System
The EOI system is a two-step process for selecting skilled immigrants, whether they are abroad or already in the province.
The first step is to submit an electronic expression of interest for permanent immigration to Arrima. This is a pre-screening process that allows the government to rank interested candidates based on their human capital and labour market-related criteria.
The second step is for the government to invite the top-ranked candidates to apply for permanent immigration in regular draws from the pool. The chances of being invited in the draws depend on many factors. These include the government's annual admission targets, its processing capacity, the candidates' ranking scores in the pool, whether there is a job offer, and the targeted occupations at the time of each draw.
Immigration Process Under the QSWP
First, candidates must submit an expression of interest through the Arrima pool. Submitted profiles are scored based on factors such as age, education, language skills and work experience. The top-scoring candidates in the pool may be invited to apply for permanent selection by the Government of Quebec in regularly held draws.
Candidates invited to apply to immigrate to Quebec under the QSWP will then use the Mon Projet Quebec portal to complete and submit an application form for permanent selection. The portal allows candidates to complete their application, make their payment online, track the status of their application, make changes to their application and access a personal email throughout the process.
Candidates who are successful under the QWSP are issued a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) and can then apply to the Government of Canada for permanent residence. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will conduct a medical and criminal background check as part of its approval process.
In order to be eligible for a CSQ under the QSWP, candidates must obtain sufficient points based on the Quebec Immigration selection grid.
This grid is composed of nine factors:
- work experience;
- knowledge of French;
- stay and family in Quebec;
- validated job offer;
- spouse’s characteristics;
- presence of children;
- ability to be financially independent.
A single (unmarried) candidate must score at least 50 points based on this system, while a candidate with a spouse or common-law partner must score at least 59 points.
QWSP Selection Factors
The Quebec Immigration selection factors are as follows:
Up to 14 points (Cutoff Score = 2 points)
Up to 12 points
Up to 14 points
Up to 8 points
Up to 16 points
Up to 22 points
Up to 8 points
Up to 17 points
Up to 8 points
Many of the documents required in order to apply for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program must be certified true copies. Click here to learn more.
Language test results must be submitted along with immigration applications to be awarded points for language proficiency.
Note as of November 2023, principal applicants will have to demonstrate a level 7 proficiency in French, while spouses of principal applicants must demonstrate a minimum of level 4 proficiency in spoken French (listening and speaking), according to the Quebec scale of French Proficiency levels.
- For more information on approved French tests, see Proving French Language Ability (Quebec Skilled Worker Program).
- For more information on the approved English test, see Proving English Language Ability - International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
QWSP Processing Fees
Processing fees for the Quebec Qualified Worker Selection Program, effective January 1, 2022, are as follows:
Spouse, de facto spouse
Each dependant child
The Quebec Qualified Worker Selection Program (QWSP) is a program for economic immigration candidates who intend to settle in the province of Quebec. Quebec's Ministère de l'immigration, de la francisation et de l'intégration (MIFI) invites candidates to apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate (Certificat de sélection du Québec, or CSQ) based on their Expression of Interest profile, which details their age, education, work experience, proficiency in French, among other factors.
Arrima is an online platform used to manage immigration applications from foreign nationals who wish to immigrate to Quebec under the QSWP. It is a portal open to anyone 18 years of age or older who wishes to submit an expression of interest to apply under the QSWP.
Under the revised Quebec immigration system, as a first step, foreign national who want to immigrate to Québec under the QSWP must first express their interest by filling out an online Expression of Interest form through the Arrima Portal. On this form, individuals must provide information regarding their area of training, educational level, language skills and work experience, as well as additional information. The Ministère periodically invites individuals from the Expression of Interest bank who meet certain criteria, focusing mainly on labour market needs in the various regions of Québec. Having a validated job offer and working in targeted occupations are some of the criteria taken into consideration.
Mon projet Québec is an online system for receiving complete applications to the QSWP. Candidates who are invited to apply for permanent selection by Quebec under the QSWP must register an account on Mon projet Québec to complete the application and submit their supporting documents.
A CSQ is the document issued to successful applicants to Quebec immigration programs to show that they have been selected for immigration to Quebec. With a CSQ, a candidate can apply to the Federal government for permanent residence. The CSQ is not a permanent residence visa and cannot be utilized for entry into Canada.
A candidate can create an Expression of Interest (EOI) profile at any time using the online Arrima portal.
The Government of Quebec invites candidates on an ongoing basis and according to labour market needs. This means that candidates who have submitted their profile in the Arrima pool and who best meet the economic and political priorities of the province and its regions may be selected at any time based on their socio-professional profile.
To maximize your chances of being invited, it is best to make sure your profile in Arrima is up to date.
No. Currently, the only way for a candidate to be considered for for immigration to Quebec under the QSWP is to create a profile in Arrima.
An applicant can include his or her spouse or common-law partner on the application, as well as any dependent children aged 18 or younger. It is important to note that Canada recognizes same-sex unions.
You may be able to obtain a CSQ under the QSWP provided you are awarded enough points in other categories on the selection grid to get a passing score.
11. If an applicant ages during the application, does he or she lose eligibility points for the age factor?
No. The age of the applicant and the ages of his or her accompanying family members (if applicable) are locked in on the day the application is submitted. For the purposes of points calculation, the applicant and his or her accompanying family members (if applicable) remain the same age throughout the application.
12. If a candidate gains new experience while his or her application is being processed, can he or she gain points?
Yes. Any changes that may affect the candidate’s application must be declared within 30 days of the change. This includes the addition of new family members, as well as any changes in address, employment, and education – this applies to the accompanying spouse as well. The candidate may gain eligibility points for these changes. It is also important to note that such these changes must be declared even if the change will not affect the points score.
Since January 1, 2020, those who submit applications under the QSWP are required to obtain an attestation of learning about democratic values and Quebec values in support of their permanent selection application.
To receive the attestation, you must successfully complete an online assessment or attend an information session with Objectif Intégration. Once obtained, the certification is valid for two years. All persons 18 years of age that are included in your application will need to obtain this certificate. More information is available on the Quebec government website.
14. What happens if a candidate moves to a different country during the processing of his or her application?
Any change in address must be declared to the MIFI. If a candidate moves to a country with a shorter estimated processing time, he or she may be able to request a transfer of the territory treating the application.
15. Can a candidate submit an application to the QSWP if he or she intends to live elsewhere in Canada?
The QSWP program is intended for prospective immigrants who wish to settle and build a life in Quebec. An application can be refused if the MIFI or the federal immigration authorities believe that the applicant does not intend to settle in Quebec.
Once a successful applicant receives a permanent resident visa, he or she (and his or her family, if applicable) must land in Quebec upon arrival in Canada. However, it is important to note that immigrants who obtain permanent residence through the QSWP have the same rights as Canadian citizens and permanent residents in other provinces to move around the country freely and without impediment.
16. Can an application for permanent residence be refused at the federal level, after the candidate has obtained a CSQ?
Yes. An application can be refused at the federal processing stage for a variety of reasons. The decision to refuse an application at the federal level can be based on criminal background checks, or on the results of medical examinations. An application may also be refused if the federal immigration authorities have reason to believe any of the applicant's claims on their application are untrue, or if the authorities doubt the candidate's intention to reside in Quebec. If you have any concerns regarding criminal or medical inadmissibility to Canada, please contact us.
17. If an applicant qualifies as a Quebec selected skilled worker and obtains a CSQ, does he or she then have to meet the points requirement for the Federal Skilled Worker Class?
No. It is important to note that the selection criteria for a Quebec Skilled Worker are not the same as those for the Federal Skilled Worker Class. If an applicant obtains a CSQ, his or her application must still be submitted at the federal level for security and medical checks before permanent residence may be granted. However, qualifications are not re-assessed at the federal level, as the province will already have approved the qualifications and selected the applicant (and his or her family, if applicable) for immigration to Quebec.
18. Does an applicant first have to be in the Express Entry pool in order to make an application for a CSQ under the QSW Program?
No. The process of immigration to Quebec exists outside the federal Express Entry immigration selection system.
Quebec is responsible for selecting immigrants to settle within the province. In order to immigrate to Quebec, candidates must first obtain a CSQ. It is important to note that a CSQ is not a Permanent Residence Visa. Once an application for a CSQ is submitted, candidates’ qualifications are assessed at the provincial level. After receiving approval at the provincial level (CSQ is granted), the candidate must submit an application at the federal level for medical and security checks. After a candidate is approved at the federal level, he or she receives permanent residence.
Quebec is a culturally distinct province, and the only predominantly francophone province in Canada. A candidate’s chances of being selected by Quebec depend on his or her ability and willingness to settle and work in the province and adapt to life in the province. Quebec has had the right to define its own criteria for the selection of immigrants since 1991, when the province signed the Canada-Quebec Accord. This agreement between the provincial and federal governments came about in the context of rising separatist sentiment in Quebec, and although Quebec residents voted to remain part of Canada, the selection of immigrants according to Quebec's own criteria remained an important part of the province's identity. However, the right to move around Canada, as established in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is part of the Canada-Quebec Accord.
Due to its special status as the only officially Francophone province in Canada, Quebec has the unique authority to manage its own immigration programs. If you are seeking to immigrate to Quebec and live there as a skilled worker, you will not be able to apply through immigration streams such as the Federal Skilled Worker (FSWP). Instead, you must apply under the Quebec Regular Skilled Worker Program (QSWP).
Cohen Immigration Law is a leading Canadian immigration law firm with over 45 years of experience. Cohen Immigration Law features over 60 immigration lawyers, paralegals, and professionals who are dedicated to helping you immigrate to Canada.
CanadaVisa.com was founded as the online presence of Cohen Immigration Law. Since its launch in 1994, CanadaVisa has grown into one of the globe's most trusted resources on Canadian immigration. If you want to immigrate to Canada through Quebec's skilled workers programs or another skilled worker pathway, the first step is to complete a free CanadaVisa assessment form. If you are eligible for Quebec or Canadian immigration, a member of the Cohen Immigration Law team will reach out to provide you with as much assistance as possible.